The academic system across the world is inherently built on trust. Think carefully: What prevents a professor from spending the rest of his days lying on the beach drinking beer the day after receiving the coveted tenure? What guarantees that a PI will not abuse her Ph.D. students forcing them to perform uncreative routine tasks? How can one be sure that the findings published in a scientific paper are real and not fudged to receive a promotion, tenure, awards, and other career advancements? The key ingredient that makes the system work is trust.
Academia is unique in its ability to unite people across a variety of cultures, languages, religions or lack thereof, political views, and personal tastes and preferences. It is especially precious in our era of tiding nationalism and sectorial radicalization. It is a relatively small and closed ecosystem in which the effect of each action is almost directly and immediately evident. Try to abuse your students a few times — the voice will spread and nobody will come to work with you anymore. Dare cheat in your papers and you will lose your credibility forever. Trust is a foundational axiom of the academic system — abroad and at home.... continue reading